What Mark Johnson Didn’t Tell You About Those Teacher Salaries in One Graph

When Mark Johnson sent one of his “informative” emails this past week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, he made the following statements:

We should talk to our students about considering the teaching profession. Teacher compensation is competitive with other careers. (Starting salaries for teachers in NCrange from $35,000 to $41,000 per school year — the average is $39,300 — while the average salary for graduates from our UNC system is $26,400 one year after college.)

The claim that the average salary for grads from UNC system schools does not clarify a few things. Justin Parmenter posted an excellent piece on his blog, Notes From the Chalkboard, concerning this claim. In short, Johnson was including all grads who were unemployed, semi-employed, and actually attending grad school.

Parmenter also included a chart representation from Derek Scott that lends visual clarity.

Scott (@twslart ) has been following trends in public education and possesses that gift of explaining concepts that many politicians hope to keep vague (for spinning purposes) in ways that make startling sense. His wife is a newly elected school board member in the state’s largest school system and many of us public school advocates really respect his work. In fact, he has been translating numbers and trends in public education for years.

And he does it well.

He tweeted out this chart last week and what it shows is something that Mark Johnson totally refuses to acknowledge because it would destroy his aforementioned arguments even further.


It’s the starting and mid-career salaries of those with a Bachelors Degree in NC from not only UNC system schools, but of the larger private institutions – many of which have teacher prep programs. It focuses on the fact that they are the average starting salaries for those who obtain full-time jobs.

And it paints a far different picture than Mark Johnson is trying to draw.

Now if Johnson had any guts, he would address this in an email to perspective teachers.

And he would also compare mid-career salaries and end-of-career salaries of teachers with others in the state.

Let’s see how far that gets him.